Morphological, Developmental, and Ecological Characteristics of the Suctorian Ciliate Ephelota gigantea (Ciliophora, Phyllopharyngea, Ephelotidae) Found on Cultured Wakame Seaweed in Northeastern Japan

Yuma Sato,

Takaaki Muto,

Yoshinari Endo,

Toshimasa Kobayashi,

Nobuyuki Nakano,

Hiroyasu Sato,

Goh Nishitani,

Waka Sato-Okoshi


Wakame seaweed is an important aquatic resource in Iwate Prefecture. However, a suctorian Ephelota gigantea sometimes causes great damage to wakame culture. Since little is known about the biological characteristics of E. gigantea, its detailed morphology and temporal change of biological characteristics during the 2010 culture season were investigated. Scanning electron microscope observations showed that E. gigantea had different striation patterns on the stalk; there was a swell made of cement by which the stalk was attached to wakame firmly; and the buds had cilia arranged in concentric circles about a ring in the center of the ventral side. A suctorian parasite was found to infect E. gigantea, and the infection seemed to have decreased drastically the attached density of E. gigantea on wakame. Cell size of parasite-infected E. gigantea individuals was larger than that of uninfected individuals, probably because larger E. gigantea has larger surface area for attachment of the parasite. Cyst formation or conjugating individuals were not observed.

Słowa kluczowe: Ephelota gigantea, wakame seaweed, parasite, suctorian

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